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Health And Well Being of New Mothers

Your Health and Wellbeing after Your Pregnancy 

If you have a new baby in the house, you don’t need to be told how much time and energy it takes to care for your baby and to keep to some sort of routine. If you have an older child or children in the house, then everything becomes even more difficult. Suddenly every member of the family needs more attention than ever. The health and wellbeing of you the mom goes right down to the bottom of the list. You need to try and avoid this happening.

How to Take Care of Your Baby and Your Well-being Postpartum

  • With a bit of luck, you will have had the time and energy to organize your home, freeze some home cooked meals and had your chores fairly up to date before the birth of your baby.
  • If friends and family want to come and visit then - first you need to space out such visits and - secondly you need to rope them in to help. And don’t be shy to suggest ways in which they can do this: such as preparing a meal, doing shopping or chores for you or looking after any other children. Make it clear that you are recovering from childbirth and that you could do with all the help you can get. Nine times out of ten they will only be too willing to lend a hand. If you can drop hints about all this to family and friends even before your baby is born, then do so. It will avoid any problems later on.
  • Remember that successful breastfeeding depends on the mom avoiding exhaustion. As your new baby is sensitive to your moods, any tiredness, or the feeling you are unable to cope, will inevitably cause your baby to suffer. You need to be very clear about your needs which are particularly important at this time.
  • If your mother or mother-in-law or another close friend or relative offers to come and stay for a while, then gratefully accept such an offer. This will definitely ease the pressure off you and will help you get used to having the baby as part of your routine.
  • Try to take breaks from taking care of the baby as and when you can. Never feel guilty about such a break as it is necessary for your mental and physical well being.
  • Make sure you eat regularly and well and that you include fresh fruits and green vegetables.
  • Keep meals simple or use prep-prepared foods to cut down on the time and energy spent cooking.
  • Your night’s sleep is inevitably going to be disturbed in those early days (if not longer!). Having a sleep whenever your baby sleeps is going to help you keep going. When your baby is restless, use the time to put him in a sling so that you can do other essential chores around the home.
  • Even if your partner is working, you can still enlist his help in sharing some of the baby care. Fathers these days are often much more “hands on” and relaxed about looking after babies than earlier generations. Make the most of this new found talent! Try to work out a timetable so that there is some time during the day or night when the baby becomes his responsibility, giving you some precious time to yourself for example to soak in the bath. Make sure Dad’s time is long enough to make you feel that you are having a break but not so long that Dad feels abandoned.
  • Many babies are comforted by the sound of running water and will sit peacefully in an infant seat on the floor of the bathroom while you or your partner are having a shower or bath. You can chat to your baby at the same time too.
  • Sometimes you can trade childcare with another new mom from your neighborhood so that one of you takes care of both babies for an hour or two while the other mom has a break. Then next time, swap it around.
  • You need to create “couple time” too when it is just the two of you. Work out the things which you can still do even with a new baby around. Keep the lines of communication open so that you can discuss any minor issues before they become major problems. Try to make the talk sessions meaningful without them turning into complaining sessions as that won’t help either of you. And treat yourself to a babysitter so that you can have some time out together – even if it is just an hour or two.
  • With a little bit of luck and a lot of help, you can make those early weeks with your new born baby a little easier so that you and the mom do not suffer. But don’t forget to seek medical help and advice if you are concerned about either your physical or mental health in any way.
  • Sometimes the “baby blues” can creep up on you so if you experience symptoms of depression after giving birth and you feel there is something wrong, tell someone close to you so they can get help and treatment for your from your midwife or doctor. Don’t just leave it. Having a baby is a time of great change so that new mothers experience biological, physical, emotional and social changes. So it is really not all that surprising that about 70% of women will experience an emotional let down (however slight) after giving birth.

What is an Environmentally Friendly Pregnancy? 

Through good times and bad, people often worry about what sort of world they are bringing a child into and yet in spite of everything, we do still keep having babies. In the last couple of years, most “thinking” people have come to realize that perhaps they can do their bit to help the environment and that includes trying to lessen the impact that your baby, as well as the rest of your family, has on that environment.

There are many ways in which we can turn to a more natural way of family life and reduce our carbon footprint without being seen as “hippies”.

The most obvious by product of a new baby is the disposable diaper. Disposable diapers have without a doubt put a huge strain on landfill sites. Every baby who wears disposables will send about 5000 of these to landfill sites. This means about 50 million diapers everyday in the US where they will take up to 500 years to biodegrade. This is quite a thought to my stomach.

In addition, a baby using disposable diapers for the first 2 years of his life, consumes 4.5 trees and puts two tones of solid waste into our environment.

Toxic chemicals in disposable diapers

Sodium polyacrylate is the chemical that makes disposables super-absorbent, absorbing up to 100 times their weight in water. However, this same chemical can stick to your baby’s genitals, cause allergic reactions and when injected into laboratory rats caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death. In the US, this very chemical was removed from tampons in 1985 when it was linked to toxic shock syndrome. Dioxin is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in manufacturing disposable diapers and is the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It causes effects such as birth defects and liver disease in laboratory animals.

The disposing of disposable diapers

Public health Associations have advised that faecal material and urine should not be allowed to be disposed of as regular trash because of the risk of contaminating groundwater and spreading disease. As many as 100 viruses can survive in solid diapers for up to 2 weeks including live polio virus excreted by recently vaccinated babies, posing a potential hazard to sanitation workers and garbage handlers.

By the same token rodents and vectors pose a health hazard if human waste is mixed with garbage. In spite of these risks, most soiled diapers are tossed into household, hospital or roadside garbage.

If you flush disposable diapers down the toilet you risk contributing to the 95% of all clogged sewer lines in the US as well as creating 43 000 tonnes of extra sludge.

The Alternatives for Disposable Diapers

You do of course have the choice to use cloth nappies with a biodegradable liner. These days, cloth nappies are well designed so they are less bulky and easy to put on and take off and they come with a range of waterproof outers. They can be easily laundered at home in your washing machine.

A fairly new innovation and one well worth investigating is the biodegradable diaper that can be flushed down the toilet. This diaper breaks down in 50 to 150 days and is growing in popularity amongst parents who are concerned about the environment.

Other Areas of Concern

Parents are becoming aware of the frightening studies about the toxicity of their babies’ environment resulting in a tremendous growth in the use of organic baby food, the breastfeeding of babies instead of using formula, the switch to toys made from wood and other natural products rather than plastic and even concerns about the paint used on the walls, the carpets and other floor coverings and the products used in the cot mattress or the bed linen and clothing. Parents are increasingly concerned about the amount of toxicity given off by the chemicals in manufactured goods.

80% of the world’s toys are made in China – there are 10 000 toy factories in that vast country and over 21 million toys were recalled during 2007 by US toy company Mattel because of health and safety concerns.

The Good News

Many companies today cater for babies and young children by offering products carefully selected for quality, purity, safety and produced in such a way that cares both for the earth and its workers.

Clothes and linen using organic cotton which is grown and processed without the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides (and which have no finishing -chemicals such as bleaches and fire-retardants which contain dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde) are becoming more widely available and growing in popularity. The wearing of organic cotton next to the skin allows ventilation, absorbing body moisture and helping maintain an even body temperature. Merino wool is the perfect fabric for new born baby being soft and non irritating.

Remember that all natural fibers are naturally fire resistant eliminating the need for dangerous fire-retardant chemicals to be used.

Very young babies do not need soaps, shampoos and creams and potions – they are far more sensitive to chemicals than adults are. So when you do have to start using cleansing products, ensure they are made from natural ingredients.

As more and more people are educated as to the advantages of a more natural way of life, these changes will benefit our environment but they will also undoubtedly show an improvement in the health of both the babies and their parents.